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Pro-life group to host prayer vigil in front of Governor's mansion in response to his veto of Pain-Capable bill

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Several pro-life organizations will join from 8-9 p.m. April 1 for a prayer vigil in front of the governor's mansion in response to Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's veto of House Bill 4588, the pain-capable unborn child protection act.

The groups include: West Virginians for Life, West Virginia Family Policy Council, Susan B. Anthony List and West Virginia Students for Life.

Participants plan to meet at 7:30 p.m. under the Southside Bridge on Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston.

West Virginians for Life planned a news conference at 2 p.m. April 1 at the Capitol to discuss the legislation, and National Right to Life's legislative counsel will address the constitutionality of the bill.

John Carey, West Virginians for Life legislative coordinator, said the organization expects a "groundswell of support leading up to the 2015 session."

"Furthermore, nothing the governor has done has changed the fact that there is a substantial body of scientific evidence that unborn babies from 20 weeks and older feel pain," Carey said.

National and statewide anti-abortion groups also plan to call for a federal version of the state bill Tomblin vetoed to be approved in the U.S. Senate, where it has more than 40 co-sponsors and has already been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives. 

"We implore (U.S.) Sen. Joe Manchin to embrace his pro-life position and become the first Democratic senator to co-sponsor the federal Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," said Mallory Quigley, communications director for Susan B. Anthony List. "Sen. Manchin has the opportunity to represent West Virginia and lead the nation where Gov. Tomblin has so shamefully failed."

However, Margaret Chapman Pomponio, executive director of WV FREE, said in a news release House Bill 4588 would have taken away a woman's ability to make an "extremely personal and often heartbreaking reproductive health care decision."

"We believe that these decisions should be made by a woman in consultation with her physician, not by legislators," Pomponio said. "The governor made the right choice in vetoing this bill, and we are heartened by his decision to place his trust in the women of West Virginia and the medical community."